Agricola de Cologne was opening the symposium with an introducing lecture explaining the historical conditions for making the “Holocaust” as a topic in his art creations, from the early family rooted beginning, via the fall of the Berlin Wall 1989, motivating him to create his first major exhibition project dealing with the Holocaust “ A Living Memorial Spaces of Art “ (1000 Years, 50 Years and Still so Terribly Young), its more than 43 successful presentations and its destruction by a terror attack in 1998, the return to life after a several months lasting coma, re‐creating himself as an artist and curator working with new media starting in 2000, until he was ready emotionally and intellectually to return also to the topic of Holocaust again, by initiating SFC – Shoah Film Collection in 2009 to be launched on occasion of 27 January 2010, the 65th return of the Liberation of Auschwitz.
The lecture can be reviewed on YouTube – see below
After Agricola de Cologne one hour lasting introduction, Cristiano Berti from Italy and Felice Hapetzeder from Sweden were the first live presenters.
They were presenting their videos as a part of Shoah Film Collection ‐ “Lety” (Cristiano Berti) and “Origin On Re‐cut Trailer” (Felicie Hapetzder), eg. the screening of their videos and afterwards explanations of the creating processes, the context of work in their oeuvre and their experiences and personal statements, afterwards the discussion with the audience followed.
Cristiano Berti is dealing in his video with the forgotten concentration camp “Lety” in Czech Republik and the persecution of Sinti & Roma during the Holocaust, while Felice Hapetzeder is confronting the viewer with the phenomenon of a relation between a victim and a perpetrator
Lety, 2009, 19:40
Lety is a video documenting an event which took place in May 2009, involving two Slovak Roma singers, František Ďuďa and Martina Ďuďová. Ferko and Martinka are brother and sister; they are blind and forced by illness to move about in a wheel chair. The event involved visiting a commemoration for the victims of the concentration camp at Lety, a village that is now in the Czech Republic, which during the Nazi occupation was the prison for 1,309 Roma, most of whom were later transferred to the Auschwitz‐Birkenau extermination camp. Since the 1970’s the site of the Lety camp has been used as an industrial pig farm. For this reason, the commemoration is held in a nearby woodland clearing.
Origin On Re‐cut Trailer, 2009, 7:02
The theme of this work is how deeply war can affect people who havenʹt experienced it themselves.
The psychological material has been transmitted by an older generation that was in direct contact with the events and the mental climate at the time.
It is these traces and their identity‐building processes, which I am studying thru video interviews with people who want to share their experiences.
There is Anatka, whose whole family on her grandmother’s side was extinguished during the Holocaust. There is Robert, whose grandfather met his grandmother in a bomb building facility of the Third Reich.
Heike Liss & Thea Farhadian (USA
Questions of the Skype interview
Your video ZeroPointTwo was one of the first submissions I received for Shoah Film Collection. What was the reason to submit?
Your video is a collaboration with Thea Farhadian. What was the cause to start it and what were your motivations?
The video is visualizing a fundamental process practiced in order to dominate and humilate people. In the given case, a woman.
Had you or Thea already experiences like that or became you witness of it?
Do you think art has the potential to be a medium to keep vivid the memory of Holocaust?
Please tell me something about you artistic background, for instance, projects you both work on, Indivually or together.
You both are obviously not native Us citizens, but came from different countries. Tell me in a few words something about your living and educational background.
ZeroPointTwo, 2007, 18:00
ZeroPointTwo, a video collaboration between Armenian‐American sound artist Thea Farhadian and German visual artist Heike Liss presents a poetic and simultaneously disturbing account of a woman having her head shaved. The work moves between states of ordinary consciousness and the collective unconsciousness. The metaphorical, cultural, political, historical, aesthetic, and religious connotations of head shavings trigger images of monks, skinheads, soldiers, cancer patients, witches, and the victims of concentration camps. Filmed in real time, ZeroPointTwo invites the viewer to enter an intimate and complex ontological space.
Skypy interview questions: How did you get the idea to start your Internet project reVilna, what is its purpose and what the target audience?
I know you spent some time in Vilnius. Was it by chance that you went there for studying?
Has your family roots in Lithuania?
While working on the realisation, how was it feeling to be confronted with a nearly vanished cultural context?
What did you learn by realising your project?
Tell us in a few words about your living and educational background. On what kind of new projects you are working currently?
reVILNA is a project dedicated to re‐imagining the historical space of the Vilna Ghetto; to allow, via technology and geographical science, the Ghetto to be digitally explored. Researchers went through memoirs, archives, original ghetto documents, and histories, and geographically tagged nearly two hundred significant points and events in the ghetto. These were then mapped out, painstakingly organized into either chronological or location‐based narratives, and paired with dozens of rare photographs. The result is an unprecedented work of Holocaust scholarship: a fully immersible, dynamic, and interactive map of the Ghetto. Users can follow a tour, use the filters to explore on their own, or search for specific sites or events with the built‐in search tool.
The map offers a rare glimpse into the Vilna Ghettoʹs little‐known histories: the resistance fighters, who smuggled arms through the sewer systems and trained in the basement of the library; the short‐lived uprising; the remarkable hospital, which had laboratories and operating room, even, reportedly, brain surgery; the towering cultural achievements; the wildly popular sporting tournaments; the manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs in the Ghetto; capital punishment carried out by the Jewish Ghetto administration ‐‐ and so much more. reVILNA is a three‐tiered project. Firstly, the map is fully accessible online and completely free.
Second, the database/software will be made available to any interested museum/institution for either physical or online installation; each institution can easily customize the map to their specifications. Third, a dedicated mobile version, with GPS‐capability, will be finalized in the coming weeks; visitors to the Vilna Ghetto will then be able to pinpoint their location and view relevant information and photographs.
Menachem Kaiser is a Brooklyn‐based writer and critic whose fiction and non‐fiction have appeared in such publications as Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tablet, Stumble, Vogue, and New York. He is the creator of reVILNA, a digital interactive map of the Vilna Ghetto, and the author of the upcoming book Seven Streets. He is currently a fellow at the Writers Institute at City University of New York, and a recent Fulbright Fellow to Lithuania, where he taught Creative Writing in Vilnius University.
ʺHow people perished in the Ghetto ‐ that I understand; what I cannot understand is how the ylived.ʺ ‐‐Chaim Grade
ʺreVILNA is one of the most significant advancements in Holocaust scholarship Iʹve ever seen ‐‐ a dazzling and effective combination of technology, geography, and history.ʺ ‐‐Laimis Briedis, Geographer at the University of British Columbia